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Being Mindful Doesn’t Mean We’re In Control

Published On: September 30, 2020

Categories: Wellness

Being mindful, is about being in the moment. It gives us the chance to choose our response to a situation. However, mindfulness ≠ equal control.

Why? Because “control” means that we are able to restrain our emotions or actions. But mindfulness is actually about respecting, accepting and relating with our emotions. 

We (myself included) talk about learning how to control your mind, to control your anxiety or your stress. The thing is we don’t actually have total control or for that matter any real control over life, our thoughts, emotions or our body. 

What if we let go of this struggle to control? 

Instead of trying to control the breath in our meditation practice, what if instead we let the body breathe? If we allowed the breath to just be?

The same with our thoughts. We can’t actually control our thoughts or what comes into our mind. A thought will come along and pop into our heads whether we want it to or not. What we can do is acknowledge what’s here, learn how to respond to it in ways that are beneficial and let go of the unhelpful reactions. 

So instead of trying to control what’s going on around us, mindfulness is about being fully present and aware of what we’re doing and where we are. 

The thing is, in life, there are often moments of pain. Things happen that we don’t want. When we get caught up in thoughts of “it’s not fair” or “why me” we add on suffering to the pain that we are already experiencing.

Suffering exists and we can’t always explain why things happen let alone control the outcome. What we can do is meet it with compassion. We can look directly at it, understand it and find meaning in it. 

Giving up this control is not the same thing as passivity or helplessness. It’s about self-agency, strength and choice. Being with and working with what is here. Adapting to the reality of the situation that is present in your life. Whether we like it or not. Accepting the reality of the moment ≠ as saying we like what is happening. Or that we agree with it. It’s only about acknowledging that it is what it is.

Why should we let go of control?

Mindfulness awareness can help us to bring in some self-compassion and compassion for others. It gives us a deep sense of strength and perspective over what is. This is SO important when we are sitting with moments of uncertainty of difficulty. Acknowledging and accepting the reality of my life after the accident is what helped me to get through it. I couldn’t get the help that I needed until I accepted what was here. 

Learning how to let go of control can help us to feel less overwhelm and to experience more ease. This is something that I go into more in my upcoming 21 day challenge. Click here to sign up.

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Charlene Gethons

Hey there, I'm Charlene!

I help creative entrepreneurs with chronic illness create a sustainable business that fits their lifestyle without letting imposter syndrome take over.

Charlene is an entrepreneur, psychotherapist and mindfulness coach living with chronic illness after she was hit by a bus.